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March 22 weekend update: Western Canada and COVID-19

There are more than 1,375 cases across Canada as of Sunday. Without B.C.’s Sunday update, Alberta and B.C. still account for more than half of all Canadian cases.




Without a Sunday update from B.C., western Canada numbers are at 755.

B.C. reported 76 new cases on Saturday and 77 new cases Friday.


31 new cases were announced Saturday and 33 additional cases were identified by Sunday bringing the province’s total to 259.

18 people are currently hospitalized with the virus and seven are in intensive care units. The province has had one death.

The province would also like people to be vigilant and take extra care with their personal information.

“Cyber security incidents involving malware and fraudulent activities, including identity theft, are being reported across Alberta in the wake of COVID-19,” said a provincial press release.

“Anyone who receives a call asking for credit card information should hang up immediately and call the non-emergency line for local law enforcement. Albertans are encouraged to continue to exercise caution when clicking on links or providing personal information to people and organizations that request that information, unsolicited.”

A new contact centre will be opening up March 23. The Alberta Connects Contact Centre will be available for non-medical assistance seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

An emergency management line is also being set up to help people who would like to donate items that are not currently on the list of requisite items. The Alberta Emergency Management Agency Unsolicited Offers Program can be accessed here.

Additional information for Alberta residents can be found here.

British Columbia

B.C. announced 76 new cases on Saturday but did not provide an update by 5:00 pm Sunday (MT).

Distillers in the province will be temporarily refocusing their production on hand sanitizer.

New rules are allowing liquor delivery, with the purchase of a meal, from area restaurants in Victoria.

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart said that the time for asking nicely is nearing an end. Stewart said he will be asking council to allow an increase in penalties for those who flaunt public health recommendations.

Additional information for B.C. residents can be found here.


The province announced two new cases on Saturday and one new case Sunday.

Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said almost all of the cases currently in the province were related to travel. One case was still being investigated.

“Now is not the time for business as usual. Now is the time to implement these social distancing strategies. Now is the time that we can work together to limit the impact of this virus in Manitoba,” Roussin said.

Residents are encouraged to use the online screening tool which should be available without delay or call Health Links where the average wait time was around 47 minutes.

Emergent situations should still call 911.

Roussin advised Manitobans to stay home if they can, practice social distancing and reschedule travel outside of the province.

One case in the province was related to travel to B.C..

Health officials also reminded residents that a negative test did not mean they should return to the community and that they should continue to self-isolate for a full 14-day period as that has been determined to be the incubation for the virus.

Self-isolation can also help curb asymptomatic spread, Roussin said.

Additional information for Manitoba residents can be found here.


On Saturday the province announced 18 new cases and an additional eight cases on Sunday bringing the province’s total to 52.

21 cases are in Saskatoon, 19 in Regina, five in southern Saskatchewan (excluding Regina) and three in northern Saskatchewan.

Health officials are asking residents to practice social distancing and monitor their own health for signs of illness. The province also asks that people adhere to other public safety measures the province and municipalities have undertaken to ensure the safety of all residents.

Additional information for Saskatchewan residents can be found here.

Provincial tallies:

  • British Columbia: 424 confirmed cases, including 5 recovered and 10 deaths*
  • Ontario: 377 cases, including 5 recovered and 3 deaths
  • Alberta: 259 confirmed cases including one death
  • Quebec: 202 confirmed cases, including one recovered and 5 deaths
  • Saskatchewan: 52 confirmed and presumptive cases
  • New Brunswick: 11 confirmed and presumptive cases
  • Manitoba: 20 confirmed and presumptive cases
  • Nova Scotia: 21 confirmed and presumptive cases
  • Prince Edward Island: 2 cases
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: 6 confirmed and presumptive cases
  • Northwest Territories: 1 case

*British Columbia’s numbers are current as of Saturday, March 21.

Deirdre Mitchell-MacLean is a Senior Reporter with Western Standard
Twitter @Mitchell_AB


The world wants to move to Canada

Residents of 30 countries around the world pick Canada as their top destination.




Canada is the top country most people around the world want to move to, a new survey reveals.

Residents of 30 countries around the world pick Canada as their top destination. Japan trailed badly in second place with only 13 countries selecting The Land of the Rising Sun to move to.

On the map – generated using Google search data – country names have been supplemented by their residents’ most yearned-for spot to emigrate to.

The majority of Canadians said they would prefer to move to the U.S.

The map has been drawn up by financial services provider Remitly, which looked at search data from Google for 100 countries. It says it created a ranking by looking at average monthly search volumes for phrases commonly associated with a move abroad and the most-searched-for locations within the 100 countries, the Daily Mail reported.

“It says that Canada, known for its friendly locals, beautiful scenery and well-paid job prospects, proves a clear favourite for relocation for everywhere from Qatar and the Seychelles to Belgium,” the Mail reported.

“Featuring prominently in the Global Peace Index as one of the safest places to live, and boasting low unemployment rates alongside a high amount of immigration options, it’s arguably no surprise that Canada is head and shoulders above the rest of the world.”

The Mail reported Jago McKenzie, business manager at Remitly, said: “Some of the main reasons people seek a move to another country are for greater job prospects, better pay, quality of life and to send money back home to their families, and I think for many, 2020 has been a year for assessing the choices that could change our lives for the better.

“With that in mind, I wasn’t surprised to see that many are searching for this change and potentially thinking about making it when worldwide travel resumes.

“While Canada topped the list, it was encouraging to see the variety of where different nationalities are looking to move to, with many places home to great job prospects with high earning potential.

“With the need for digital remittance services for immigrants even more important after the pandemic, we hope we’ll be able to make any transition smoother.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Edmonton spends nearly $550K to keep eight public washrooms clean during COVID pandemic

The dollar figures have some Edmonton councillors shaking their heads.




Talk about pricey Port-a-Potties!

Edmonton taxpayers have been flushing out a pretty penny to keep the Whyte Ave. and seven other public washrooms clean during the pandemic.

A report headed to council on Wednesday shows from April 7 to Oct. 8, 2020, a total of $548,002 was spent on COVID-19 washroom response to ensure residents, especially vulnerable populations, have access to public toilets.

A total of $126,000 was spent just keeping the Whyte Ave. facility clean. There are two attendants on the site, day and night.

Source: City of Edmonton

“The outbreak of COVID-19 disrupted the operation and accessibility of many public facilities including washrooms, libraries and recreational centers (sic). In order to ensure Edmontonians still had access to public washrooms, Administration worked with Boyle Street Ventures to provide washroom attendants,” the report said.

“Public washrooms play a key role in ensuring healthy and equitable urban places.

“A cost analysis showed that despite a significant increase in direct staffing costs for monitoring the washroom (compared with costs of custodial services with no attendants on site), these costs may be partially offset via the overall increase in safety, cleanliness and a reduction in police response to social disorder as well as a reduction in repairs to the facility.

“Attendants provided thorough cleaning of the washrooms, disinfection and ensured users followed physical distancing guidelines to make washrooms safe and mitigate the spread of the virus.”

Source: City of Edmonton

The city will now create a formal long-term implementation plan to address challenges
associated with managing public washrooms.

The dollar figures have some Edmonton councillors shaking their heads.

“I do not understand how we spent over half a million dollars  in half a year to operate eight bathrooms. When we are thinking about cutting everything else in our budget this seems like a prime opportunity. I will be finding out how we can save money here,” said Coun. Jon Dziadyk, vice chair of the Community and Public Services committee which the report will be presented to on Wednesday.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Majority of Canadians want Terry Fox to be the face of new $5 bill

Past Tory voters overwhelming pick Fox




The vast majority of Canadians want Terry Fox to adorn the new $5 bill, a new poll finds.

The non-profit Angus Reid Institute found that among the eight final candidates, Terry Fox is named more than all others as the preferred new face, chosen by 57 per cent of Canadians.

Angus Reid poll

After losing part of his right leg to cancer, Terry Fox campaigned to raise national awareness and funding for cancer research by running his Marathon of Hope, a cross-Canada 42-km daily run, on his prosthetic leg.

By February 1981, $24.7 million had been raised—or $1 for every Canadian.

His run was interrupted just past the half-way point when the cancer reached his lungs, and ultimately took his life.

Today, annual Terry Fox Runs are held all over the world to raise money for cancer research. In 2020, the Marathon of Hope marked its 40th anniversary.

“Famed Indigenous soldier Binaaswi (Francis Pegahmagabow) is chosen by one-in-five (21 per cent), including one-quarter of residents in Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada. Crowfoot (Isapo-muxika), an integral part of Treaty 7 negotiations in Alberta, is chosen by one-in-five (19 per cent) as well,” Angus Reid pollsters found.

“Past Conservative voters are much more likely to prefer Terry Fox as their choice (three-quarters do so), while those who support other parties like candidates other than him.

Angus Reid poll

“Residents in Quebec (34 per cent) and young women across the country (27 per cent) show considerable support for Robertine Barry, the first French-Canadian journalist and an advocate for women’s rights, as a candidate.”

Angus Reid poll

More than three-in-five overall, and a majority in each region of the country, say it is a good idea to change the face of the five. But a significant segment, 37 per cent (including 57 per cent of past Conservative voters), disagree.

Sir Wilfred Laurier, Canada’s seventh prime minister, has graced the nation’s sky blue five-dollar bank note for almost 50 years.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is to make a decision early next year about who should adorn the new bill.

Bios on all the finalists can be found here.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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